It’s that time of year! You’re reflecting on the past year and making resolutions for 2023. There’s probably a lot you want to do differently. And, after a year of economic woes, improving your finances is likely at the top of your goal list!
You might be super motivated now, but where will you be at the end of February? The truth is, only 12% of people keep their New Year’s Resolutions. JEEZ. This means in February you’ll probably be back where you started, thinking about what you’ll do differently next time.
So, how do you prevent this? How do you make THIS year different and achieve all your money goals? Here’s 18 ways to make this year different for your finances:
18 Ways to Make this Year Different for Your Finances
Consider the past and forgive yourself.
It’s important to reflect on your past mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. Forgive yourself for any money mishaps and move forward. As long as you’re not returning to your financial blunders of the past, there’s no need to worry about them. However, you need to acknowledge them, understand why they happened, and determine how to prevent them in the future.
Once you realize what happened in the past, set goals for the future. Make short term and long-term goals for your financial future. Write these goals down and post them up somewhere in your house to stay motivated. If you’re not sure what you want to accomplish, read through this list first!
Add up your debt.
I know this is scary. Really, guys, I know! But, you need to get a full financial picture. Look up every account and make a list of all your debts. Total it up and get a number. Once you see the number, take a moment and just breathe. It’s okay! No matter the debt you’re facing, you can at start tackling it in 2023! This won’t be your reality forever.
Have an emergency fund.
In 2022 were your financial goals destroyed multiple times because of emergencies? Car problems? Furnace repair? Medical bills? You need an emergency fund! Saving just $1,000 and tucking it in savings will prevent most financial disasters. Focus first thing in 2023 on saving $1,000. When you have to use that $1,000, save it up again!
Make a budget.
Setting and sticking to a budget is a huge part of creating a better financial future. If you’ve never set a budget before, you’ll be shocked at what you’ll discover about yourself through the process. After a few months of reworking the budget and changing your behavior because of the budget, you’ll have a system that really works.
Learn about the baby steps.
The “Baby Steps” are a Ramsey Solutions system of tackling debt and achieving your financial goals. It’s a seven-step process that will make you a millionaire! Seriously! No, not tomorrow, but this process has helped millions of people get out of consumer debt, pay off debt, and fund their dreams. Here are the baby steps, and you can find out more about them here.
- Save $1,000 for your starter emergency fund.
- Pay off all debt (except the house) using the debt snowball.
- Save 3–6 months of expenses in a fully funded emergency fund.
- Invest 15% of your household income in retirement.
- Save for your children’s college fund.
- Pay off your home early.
- Build wealth and give.
Add personal finance books to your reading list.
Personal finance is mostly behavior based, NOT knowledge based. However, there are definite benefits to having the know-how. Plus, reading financial books keeps you focused on your goal! Add finance books to your reading list and listen to some great podcasts too!
Start using cash.
When you pay with cash, you spend less. You feel the transaction hit you harder when you exchange something for the products or services you’re buying. Additionally, it’s easier to keep track of your budget with a set amount of physical cash. When the cash is gone, you know you’re out of money. It’s the easiest system there is!
Get an accountability partner.
If changing your behavior has been the biggest issue with changing your financial situation, what’s going to make it any different this year? Perhaps you do have some greater motivation or focus! But, chances are, you won’t be able to get where you want to go totally on your own. Get an accountability partner that’s going to help keep you on track all year long.
Use a budgeting app.
The more complicated and tedious your budget is, the harder it’s going to be to motivate yourself to keep up with it. Use a budgeting app like EveryDollar to check in with your budget every week.
Manually log all your transactions.
In addition to using an app, use a spreadsheet or piece of paper to physically write all of your purchases. This might sound crazy, but the apps can make it a little too easy to ignore what’s going on.
If your coffee transactions are automatically logged in the “out to eat” budget, you might not realize you’re spending $150 a month on lattes! Write down your purchases for the first few months to understand your spending habits.
Cut out non-essentials.
Now, it’s time to save money or spend it more wisely. Cut non-essentials that are just eating away at your income and preventing you from building an emergency fund or reaching other money goals. Cut down on budget items like clothing, monthly subscriptions, eating out, memberships, and cable/streaming costs. For this season, you don’t need it!
Guys, it’s time to downsize! Yes, the house might be what I am talking about. If you’re crippled by a substantial mortgage payment every month, you need to get a more affordable place. But, beyond a house, I might be talking about downsizing your car, hobbies, or lifestyle too! Think small for now and remember, you can have these luxuries when you’re not struggling with your financial goals.
Raise your income.
There’s never been a better time to grow your income! So many places are short-staffed, it’s easier than ever to find a new career and leverage job offers. Plus, asking for a raise isn’t hard either when the staffing issue means you’re more valuable to your company and probably doing more than ever. And, if you’re self-employed, inflation and staffing issues mean clients understand rising rates.
But, if you’re not seeing an opportunity to boost your income using your primary job, boost it with a side gig! Either get another job for weekends and weeknights, or open a small business. Just make sure your small business is low cost and sustainable while you work your day job.
When was the last time you checked your insurance rates? Have you compared internet packages? What about your phone bill? Many times, we let these monthly bills rise every year and barely pay any attention to their growth. Soon, we’re overpaying and we don’t even know it!
Recently, a couple that I work with shopped car insurance rates because of my recommendation. Turns out they were overpaying by DOUBLE. They had been paying this rate for a couple of years, and could have saved thousands if they would have taken the time to look around. Now it’s your turn to make sure you’re getting the best rates.
Take debt off the table.
Vow that 2023 will be debt free. Cut up your credit cards. Delete numbers for loan providers. And, tell everyone in your circle that you are NOT taking out debt. When something happens, you’re going to use your emergency fund or get creative. No debt. PERIOD.
Whoa? Start giving. Definitely! No matter where you are with your financial situation, you should be giving. I recommend you tithe 10% of your income to church or charity that means a lot to you. Once we show God he can trust us with a little, he’ll entrust us with a lot!
Hire a financial coach.
One of the best things you can do in 2023 is hire a financial coach. A financial coach not only acts as an accountability partner, but they also make your budget, provide useful advice, and push you toward every financial goal. Their knowledge and attention to your personal finance situation is one of the best ways to achieve success!
If you keep trying to apply good money habits, but you just can’t make it stick, a financial coach is perfect for you. There is nothing you can do in 2023 that’ll do more for your financial situation than hiring a financial coach. Let us be here for you, so we can help you get out of debt and hit every goal.
Make this next year different for your financial picture and all your money goals!
If you’re ready to take the plunge and hire a financial coach, try a free session with me! I’d be happy to meet with you to see if coaching is the right fit for you. Beyond that, put the tasks on this list into action. Soon, you’ll see improvements that’ll inspire you to continue grinding it out until you reach your ideal financial future.